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Prof Douglas Powell Says K State Doesn’t Want Him Back

Because of his Barfblog and associated Bites (Safe food from farm to fork) website, Professor Doug Powell is probably one of the best-known faculty members on the Kansas State University campus.

Except Professor Powell has not been on campus lately. For the past couple years, he’s been living in Brisbane, Australia with his wife, Dr. Amy Hubbell, who teaches French language at the University of Queensland.  Powell has been living the life of a long distance professor, 15 hours ahead of U.S. Central Time. Now, he says, the party is over because Kansas State University is terminating his contract, effective June 30, 2013.

In a March 29, 2013 entry titled Bye-bye bites; fired for bad attendance that, Powell announced, “Today I was told my contract would not be renewed beyond June 30, 2013, because of bad attendance.”

On April 1st, Food Safety News also contacted Jeffery B. Morris, VP for communications and marketing for KSU, only to be told it is generally the university’s policy not to comment on personnel matters. Morris said they need to gather the facts before issuing a response, but at press time Food Safety News had not heard anything more from the Manhattan, KS campus.

Professor Powell reports that after his wife, Dr. Amy Hubbell, left Kansas State University for the University of Queensland in Brisbane, he worked out a deal with his dean and department chair so that he could join her and his daughters by becoming a long distance faculty member.

The “electronic and eclectic” nature of his research work caused them to agree to what Powell calls an “experiment.”

I had presented options for on-line course in food safety policy, a massive open on-line course (MOOC) in food safety, and was repeatedly told my performance as a faculty member was above average – but I’m getting fired for not being there to hold my colleagues hand during tea,” he wrote.

Powell said he publishes approximately 1,000 blog entries annually on Barfblog.com, 400 on Bites and conducts around 600 media interviews.

He told Food Safety News that both Barfblog and Bites will continue in a more reduced form.

“I love my wife and family,” Powell wrote. “And that’s where my allegiance lies.”

No doubt about that, but Food Safety News wanted to know if Kansas State would continue his contract if he remained on campus.

Neither Powell nor K State seemed to want to respond to that line of inquiry. Powell said when he did live in Manhattan, the place was like a morgue. And K State is still working on its response.

Food Safety News named Powell one of the Best in Food Safety in Education in February.

© Food Safety News
  • keith Warriner

    I guess we are all waiting the hear April Fool from DP but I
    doubt it will come. I have always
    admired Doug ever since first meeting him and his team in Guelph. However, I
    can see it from the point of K State as faculty do need to be on the ground at
    any University. Indeed, a lot of time is spent in non-teaching or research
    related functions such as program coordinator or sitting on committees. I think DP should be more philosophical about
    the experience rather than attacking the hand-that-fed him. Many Universities
    would not even entertain the idea of a remote faculty and would show you the
    door but only before counting the pens & paperclips. The Experiment was
    tried and failed like many do. The needs
    of K-State and DP were different so the split was inevitable – this dosent mean
    they carnt still be friends.

  • Shame on Kansas state!

    Typical bureaucratic BS!

  • Fadi Aramouni

    Manhattan is one of the best places to live in the US! I have been here with my family for 23 years and I would never move. People are friendly, honest, helpful and down to earth. The only morgue like places in Manhattan are the silent, empty offices of people who have deserted them while still getting cold cash from Kansas Tax payers. I am a faculty member at K-State, students who come in and out of my office many times a day; I also check on my research activities in my lab many times a day. May be some faculty would claim that it could do all be done from the beach on the French Riviera, but as some of my farmer friends in Kansas would say: “that’s just a bunch of BULL”

  • J Taylor

    I think that students need some personal contact with their tutors. In fact learning in groups is a part of the higher (and most) education experience.

    However, if there are any electronic professorships going in food safety on full salary, please let me know.

    (I left a similar comment on the other blog but it disappeared.)